What is a pocket watch size?
The size of a watch refers to the diameter of the watch face, with higher numbers equating to wider faces, and bigger watches. Standard pocket watch sizes are 12, 16 and 18 for models typically carried by men and designed for the capacity of a waistcoat or pants pocket.
Eventually, demand from women led to the production of smaller size watches that could be worn on a necklace chain, bracelet or pinned to clothing as a brooch. Manufacturers produced smaller watch sizes 0, 6 and 8 to accommodate this demand for lighter timepieces.
Watch sizes are measured in 30ths of an inch, with the standard 18s size equating to 1 23/30ths of an inch. A change in size corresponds to a change of 1/30th inch. That means that a size 17 watch is 1 11/15 inches, or 1/30th of an inch smaller than a size 18.
A watch’s size has nothing to do with the case or the dial. It’s actually a measure of the dial-side plate diameter of the watch’s movement. The term “movement” refers to all of the mechanical stuff inside the watch that makes it function.
South Bend Watches started out in 1902 with sizes of 6 and 18 only. Eventually the company would produce watches in sizes 0, 6, 12, 16, 18. By 1914, production had been reduced to sizes 12 and 16 only, with only one year, 1919, when the company added a size 18 to the product line.
- Loga, Ernest. South Bend & Studebaker Watches, Another Studebaker Family Legacy, 2012
- All About Pocket Watch Sizes, Keepthetime.com, Website, 2021